Wayne Rainey figure overlooks Laguna Seca for 60th anniversary

by Emily Macbeth

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is visited each year by cars and motorcycles alike. This year, the circuit celebrates its sixtieth anniversary, and local artist John Cerney was commissioned to create a tribute – an eighteen foot long and twelve and a half foot tall plywood cut-out of motorcycle racing legend Wayne Rainey riding a Yamaha YZR500.

Rainey lives in Monterey, and he won three straight championships from 1990 to 1992. He also took three consecutive GP wins at the track between 1989 and 1991, and still remains in the racing world even after an accident in 1993 that left him paralysed.

Cerney was commissioned by the Sport Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), who also asked him to make another yet to be revealed design. He created the mural from a photograph taken by Mike Doran, and from there, he says, it was easy.

“It’s certainly a nice splash of color on the hill to get people revved up about the racing and the track itself,” said Cerney. “My job is simple once I get a picture, and I got a great shot from Mike Doran. Knowing the story of Wayne Rainey makes the painting mean more to me. I treat it with care knowing it is a racing legend who was brought down early in his career and is still active in the field. 

“I wanted to do it right and be cognizant of every little thing going on in the picture. For example, there was something on his glove that was a little fuzzy in the picture, so I did some research online to find that it was his autograph. I wanted to catch all the little details I could to remove any doubt that it’s him.”

Rainey’s 1989 Yamaha YZR500 will be part of the ‘Racing Through the Decades’ display, which features a number of prominent machines tied to the success of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca track. The 2017 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will not only celebrate its sixtieth anniversary, but also the sixtieth anniversary of Formula Junior and seventieth anniversary of Ferrari.

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